Ottawa Group of Four preparing leadership challenge
As Elizabeth May continues to seek ways to break her own party's rules on an upcoming mandatory leadership review, the strife within the Green Party over the matter is becoming more and more public.
Some of those eager for their opportunity to supplant May as the leader of the party are beginning to come out of the woodwork. Among them is Sylvie Lemieux, a member of the Ottawa Group of Four.
“This is not about running against Elizabeth May," Lemieux said in a statement. "This is about creating a better option for Canadians by building the party into a true contender that's more attuned to Canadians from coast to coast.”
Indeed, in the series of policy resolutions the Group of Four -- also including Qais Ghanem, Paul Maillet and Akbar Manoussi -- submitted for the 2008 Green Party annual general meeting (never held due to an election), Lemieux has previously called for the Green Party to reach out to mainstream Canadians by offering a full slate of policies, as opposed to a narrow focus on environmental issues.
(One would also presume this should exceed Elizabeth May's narrow focus of simply defeating Stephen Harper.)
“Right now, our appeal is primarily with those people most concerned with the environment," Lemieux continues. "And, while that's important, it’s a limited group. If the Green Party is to realize its full potential it needs a leader who can appeal to a broader audience –- to mainstream Canadians."
Moreover, Lemieux insists that the Party must honour is constitution, and not allow May to circumvent the rules for her own benefit.
"The Green Party constitution calls for a leadership contest to happen this year and it’s important that we respect our constitution,” Lemieux continued. “The real issue is not about the timing of the leadership contest but rather whether or not the Green Party should follow its constitution and hold mandatory leadership contest.”
But, predictably, for Lemieux it seems that the leadership may not necessarily be about her party's ideas, but rather her own ideas and those of her compatriots in the Group of Four.
“My team and I have some great ideas about how to bring about positive change in Canada that will get us going in the right direction so that we can be a global leader in the 21st Century," Lemieux insisted. "We believe this message will resonate with Canadians on a much larger scale than the Green Party's current message.”
This clearly pertains to the proposed 2008 AGM resolutions that the group proposed -- some of which would actually require Green Party candidates to seek permission from party leadership before they could publicly dissent from party policy on any matter of conscience.
In other words, a Sylvie Lemieux-led Green Party would centralize some of the most basic freedoms to the party leadership -- a disturbing notion when one realizes that one of the matters the Group of Four themselves wanted to set official party policy on was the issue of euthanasia.
The Green Party clearly faces some challenging and potentially dark times ahead. While it cannot allow Elizabeth May to shamelessly circumvent party rules for nothing more or less than her own personal benefit, it would also be remiss to allow itself to fall into the hands of Lemieux and her compatriots (among them, in Qais Ghanem, is a 9/11 truther).
With any luck, the Green Party will be up to the challenge of plotting its course forward and finding relevance in the eyes of Canadians, as opposed to the course it's currently following, and may yet travel along even faster -- the path to irrelevance.